Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Well, here it is.


My theatre winners for Summer 2013.

Some of the decisions as to the winners of my ‘Awards’ were not very difficult, but some of them were frightfully hard. Because all the nominees are truly grand performers … and…  oh lawks! I sound like a schoolteacher.. . well, that’s why out of the hundreds of artists I saw, they are there in the list of loved ones. But when it came to the crunch, and I had to choose among them, I simply asked myself ‘which one of all these would I most like to see/hear again?’

OK. Nuff stuff.

First category. Performance in an opera (blokes). One of the nearly dead-heats. It’s so difficult to compare a performer in a large-stage full production with someone singing in an operatic concert performance. Or a studio  production. The full-stage man has the advantages of ‘performing’ and also the disadvantages of any ‘production’ that might be laid upon him.
I’d like to see Andrezej Dobber in a less eccentric Rigoletto, without a glitter-frock. His superb singing and acting shone through the handicaps, but they were handicaps.
So, on my principle ‘what would I like to see (hear) again’ my winner is (fanfare!)


Second category: Performance in an opera (ladies). Again, a mix. One contralto and two soprani. One virtual musical comedy, one opéra bouffe, one opera that longed to be bouffe? No melodramatica. Sorry Gruberova. And all the other ovas.
I really and sincerely went overboard for all these three ladies, and would voyage several kilometres to see any of them in anything ... but there’s no doubt as to the winner: my quadruple threat


Right. I don’t know why I put this category in, but ‘best staging of an opera’.  I set myself a task there. By staging, I mean direction, choreography, sets and costumes. All of them.  Together. Well the best often go together. Not this year.
I’m left with a ‘best direction’ in a studio, and a dazzling physical production in a large house … so .. on my rules, this was the result …

DER FLIGENDE HOLLÄNDER from Basel, at the Staatsoper

Than we come to the section in which I’m supposed to be the Big Adjudicator. My favourite musical theatre performance.
 (Don’t you think ‘the musical’ is a stupid ungrammatical term?).
Well, I didn’t see a huge number of such shows this year, but they ranged from the superb to the ghastly.
I hope Germany will get rid of its xenophilia, because nearly all the good ones I saw were the home made ones. 
Once again, we’ve got all sizes and types of stages from the Theater des Westens and the Theater an der Wien to Biedenkopf and Altenburg.
And again, dead-heat.  Almost.
Mdlle van Dam you were as good as Grainne Renihan or Elaine Paige. But you can’t beat my winner. I went back to see him four times:


The ‘my favourite concert’ was the easiest category to decide. Once again, I covered large and small, and actually was only disappointed once, but the most glorious night out was at Radialsystem with the Deutsches Rundfunkchor and


The Lemon.
Not many lemons this season. The FREISCHÜTZ was just incomptently done, NATÜRLICH BLONDE looked and sounded like a hands-down Lemon-winner at the interval, but picked up slightly in Act 2, and the one ineffectual concert of my season did have some grand music just not very well performed. But my fourth nominee had hardly one single redeeming feature. The Lemon goes to


And finally, to end on a positive note, a category which didn’t have nominees. If it’s a lemon for my worst night of the season, I suppose it has to be an orange for the best.

My favourite theatre night of 2013 …

LES CONTES DE HOFMANN at the Deutsche Oper

And now we can roll up the red carpet and put away our diamonds and designer clobber until next year …
1 April 2014 we start all over again …
See you then!